Motherhood spa aka Oral health with Oral-B iO8


Let's cut to the chase, shall we... today I want to talk about motherhood and oral health... a topic that is rarely discussed when motherhood ups and downs are mentioned... and sometimes, like in my case, it doesn't always go so perfectly hand in hand. After 3 pregnancies in a relatively short amount of time, then nursing all babies past 18 months, then acid indigestion and overall crowding of the teeth, my oral health required many interventions: from replacing chipped fillings, constant battle with new cavities, and two new crowns, I had my share of oral drama... 

Seriously, it's like clock work, after each pregnancy I feel like I have to start over and put out a bunch of little fires. I usually check in with the dentist while pregnant, but other than a regular cleaning, there is little they can do until the baby is out. Anyway, I feel like I am finally turning the corner here, and my oral health seems to be relatively balanced. However, between some sensitivity, some gum exposure around the crowns, and general proneness to cavities between my teeth, there is a lot to deal with at once, and a heck of a task for one little toothbrush :) I spent too much of my free time looking for a perfect toothbrush that could address all these issues and I thought something always had to give. 

And as you see in the entire paragraph, there is a lot to deal with here!

I am so so happy to report that I found the Oral-B iO8 Toothbrush, and I can finally say: happy teeth! we have arrived! First of all, my dentist recommended that I get a good electric toothbrush, because manual brushing - in my already "pretty complex" case was just not feasible, a manual toothbrush can't precisely reach each tooth on multiple surface areas, something my tight bite absolutely requires. I have been an avid user of Oral-B electric toothbrushes in the past, but the Oral-B iO8 is just the next level, it's simply the state of the art. Its powerful, yet gentle micro-vibrations ensure that each tooth gets properly brushed, even the hard to reach areas.

I love the Smart Pressure Sensor that ensures I don't brush too hard, something I struggled with in the past... I would over-brush - irritating my gums and stripping enamel - which would worsen my sensitivity. Once I started brushing with  Oral-B iO8, this improved significantly. The AI Recognition of my brushing habits that I can review on an interactive display inside the toothbrush's app offers me something more. It allows me to optimize my brushing and improve my habits to ultimately achieve better oral health! That's where the magic happens! I had no idea that I brush one side far more and far longer than the other, it's no wonder one was over-sensitive and stripped of enamel and the other had more plaque. This toothbrush was a total game changer for my brushing routine and a great boost for my oral overall health.

Depending on your objective you can choose between 6 distinguishably different brushing modes: Daily Clean, Intense, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive and Super Sensitive. I use the gum care and sensitive interchangeably, because these two fit my objectives, the best part about either one of these modes, is that vibrations - even though they seem different in intensity and frequency  - don't feel dizzying, they just feel normal, my hand doesn't feel all tingly after using it either, something that always bothered me when I was done using other electric toothbrushes. Overall, I think it this toothbrush is an amazing investment and if it keeps me out of a dentist chair for long enough, it sure will save me a lot - and I mean - a L O T of money in dental bills!

The other day, I had a pleasure of chatting about oral health during a pandemic with a Registered Dental Hygienist from my local Salem Dental Arts office, Sarah Crow, who happens to be the president-elect of  the American Dental Hygienists Association for Massachusetts. She mentioned that even though dental procedures are considered high risk for Covid-19 exposure, there has been very little virus transmission among patients and dental professionals. That is why it is crucial to not put dental appointments on hold. Of course, a good habit of brushing and flossing is as important as ever. We also chatted about the best toothbrushes on the market and what makes the Oral-B iO8 the best one out there. She pointed out that no other brush has the oscillation head movement (vs. back and forth) and that is the key to the most precise polish motion around the tooth, without abrasives.  It is especially important for patients like myself, to achieve perfectly clean teeth without over-brushing or gum irritation. Sarah pointed out another Oral-B feature that has not occurred to me before, its smaller, round head which allows to move the toothbrush into hard to reach areas, like back molars and then reach tooth one at a time, something that no other electric toothbrush does as well as Oral-B. The most important about effective toothbrushing is doing it at a 45 degree angle with small circular up-down motions, instead of shoving the toothbrush back and forth, and super important, bing gentle!

For more interesting stats and figures on good brushing, you can check hereOr check some helpful resources from Sarah's practice. 

I’m also excited to share Oral-B’s latest initiative in gifting deserving patients across the country with an Oral-B iO of their own! By partnering with dental professionals across all 50 states, they are finding patients who need iO most during this time. Through this effort, Sarah was able to give 5 of her patients Oral-B iO brushes and help them better their everyday day oral care routines.

Blog written as partnership with Oral-B iO8

Toasting to the Holidays - Cocktail Party

December is such a tricky time for me, I would even say that I have a little bit of a "love-hate" relationship with it, I am definitely extremely emotional during it... and for so many reasons!
It is such a happy, beautiful, joyous, cozy time, everyone loves it! But for me, it is also the time when I  miss my homeland and my family the most... we all go back to our childhood during the holidays, to our roots, to our inner kid, to its happy memories, favorite traditions and customs. For me, all of it got left in Poland, and when I got here, I had to re-learn the Christmas spirit and then fill-in its blank card back again.

Slowly, over the years, the longing for what it "used to be" became less apparent, less painful, less yearning... the "what it used to be" slowly faded and the "what it is" took its place.
The older, I get the more I realize that home is where the heart is, and looking at my kids and their joyous memory making "here and now" is what this season is all about.
Living away from family for more than 15 years, made me realize that "friends are a family you get to choose" is such a true statement. We are fortunate to have some amazing people in our lives, who share these happy moments of the holiday season with us and help us create new memories.

We usually throw a few little evening cocktails and dinners to reconnect with friends, tell them how grateful we are for them and toast to another good year together. This year it will be no different. We planned one get-together with a few closest friends, and one with neighbors and coworkers.

I try to prepare a sit down meal, if the occasion is more intimate with less guests, but if there are quite a few visitors and each of them is coming at a slightly different time (cause yup, holiday time is such a busy time for EVERYONE) I try to have some appetizers and tapas style foods for all to grab. I try to make up the lack of a home-cooked dinner with a good signature drink. In the winter time, I am all about mulled wines and spicy sangrias. It is the season for rich, cinnamon and orange infused flavors, and the temperatures outside call for them to be served warm.

My favorite recipe is pretty simple:

1 750ml bottle red wine (We got Wellsley Farms Malbec exclusive to Bj's)

6 orange, sliced into rounds, plus 6 more for garnish

3 whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks, plus 3 more for garnish

12 pieces of star anise

2 tbps pof honey

3 tbps of brandy

1/2 cups of cranberries (dried or fresh) to garnish

2 vanilla sticks


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer not a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently over low heat for 10 minutes.
Serve warm and garnish with citrus slices, cinnamon sticks. I sometimes like to sprinkle a little bit of powdered cinnamon on top for that extra spice. Cin Cin! 

 And as always, life gets busier than busy and even if we throw a party, we don't always actually have the time to prepare it! So thank goodness, we took advantage of our new BJ's membership, and in a one stop-shop got all the ingredients necessary to throw that party. Apart from all the deli items for the appetizers, we got a selection of wines from their Wellsley Farms brand, it is as much delicious as affordable. It is a win win for cin cin and voilà!

My absolute favorite this time of year is their Wellsley Farms Malbec, its musky, deep flavors if blended with cinnamon and anise taste like the holidays! It is the one I used in this recipe for the first time and I loved it, I will definitely be coming back for more, as it is not only better than some other red wines I tried in it, but also its price tag is much more attractive.

Blog post was written in partnership with BJ's Wholesale Club.

Prepping for the Holidays! - The Jolly Busiest Season here we go!


Post in partnership with BJ's Wholesale Club.

And here we are, the holidays are here, tis the season that we deem to be waiting for all year. The time of the joyous togetherness, the happiness & the celebratory mood all around. The season of parties, get-togethers, socials and cocktail receptions, office parties and after-hour holiday meet-ups. It is the time for long conversations over the most delicious foods, with the most festive drinks in hands, cozied up while it is cold and blowing outside. 

It is also the time of increased pace, longer to-do lists, but shorter days... everything seems busier, more crowded and hectic. It is the time, when we scroll Pinterest for the best recipes,  all the hosting tips, for the jaw-dropping table centerpieces and the most surprising twists on the holiday staples. We then rush to the grocery store, fight for a parking spot, and 50 out  of 55 times, pick a cart with a swiveling wheel. And then a few days later, we have to do it all over again!

Unless, you get strategic about it, plan it out, stock-up on staple items to ensure you don't have to run back in to get every little thing you run out of. 
I seriously love my kids, and I love shopping with them, but maybe like once a month ;) because shopping with them is literally like trying to have five conversations simultaneously while being hit by an pool floatie all while you are trying to juggle a dozen eggs. Nonetheless, grocery runs, especially during the holiday season, are a must. 

That is why this year, with all the pre-christmas brunching, cocktail hosting I joined oBJ Wholesale Club to wisely address all our hosting needs. To cut down on multiple grocery runs and to cut down the grocery bill! Seriously, it is a no brainer, if I can spend less time shopping and save money while at it, why would I not!? We have just recently discovered this brilliant plan and signed up our BJ’s membership. It quickly became a one-stop-shop for us, from snacks, deli items and produce
we need daily, to diapers and personal care. And for the holidays, it has been super convenient for party planning and holiday hosting.

We are planning a little cocktail reception for all of our friends right before the holiday break, so we recently took a trip down to get prepped, and grabbed some diapers and paper towels on the way out, so it is a win win!


We love that BJ's has an extensive beer, wine and spirits alcohol section right inside their clubs, which truly makes them a one-stop shop.  We chose a selection of their exclusive Wellesley Farms Wines, which are is a house brand of BJ's, affordable yet of very good quality, I tested and approved.


We want to serve some warming cocktails, so mulled wine and winter sangrias will be making an appearance for sure, we also got some Prosecco sparking wine, which is perfect for the upcoming New Year's celebrations thus makes a perfect winter party drink by itself or as a cocktail.

We found the cutest decor to help spruce up the house for the holidays and set the holiday mood for the party. Additionally, we got all the finger foods and tapas ingredients we will be serving, so no other stops for necessary. And by buying items in bulk, we make sure we don't run out, additionally saving time and money on top of that! But as always, please drink responsibly. 

Falling for Fall boots

This post is sponsored by Zappos

Long gone are hot-hot summer days, and it sure was hot this year, I know what I am saying cause I  technically spent my summer between two continents, and both were pretty hot. The kind of hot when you just don't want any fabric touching you and wearing jeans is like a slow-rubbing torture... but it is all gone, almost forgotten, autumn has rolled around with its bronze-y hues and breezy air and all the sudden, we want to burry our bodies with layers upon layers of clothing. The more the better, the cozier, the warmer, the more fall-ish, the better! And so goes my shopping Marie-Kondo aka no-shopping and downsizing...

In the summer, all I want to wear is shorts and tank tops, and how many of these do we need to buy anyway, so I am not a big shopper for summer. Whereas in the fall, each time it starts, I am like "oh hello there first leave touching the ground, now, I am going to need all the clothes, a dozen of cozy sweaters, short coats, long coats, leather jackets, jean jackets, corduroy jackets and all the flannels from all the stores ;) And then boots, I will need all the boooooooots!"

And speaking of boots, I don't know why (well, I do know why, the why is that I love shoes, especially boots), but it always seems that I am missing a style or color from my collection. I stopped buying the cheap plastic-y boots that fall apart easily a long time ago, the fast fashion wants us to buy a whole new boot collection every season, but even now, while buying a better-quality, better made boots, I still feel there is something else that I need.

I feel like between a cowboy inspired boot, a classic Chelsea boot, a kitty heel boot, an animal print boot, a white boot, a knee-length boot and so on, it was finally time to explore some of the heavier, chunkier boots. I recently fell in love with the moto- inspired ones. I think they not only go well with jeans, but they definitely work for skirts and dresses, and between all the upcoming holiday gatherings, it will be an interesting spin on that classic skirt/dress look! Just layer it up, go for the easy-going pieces and I promise, you will feel comfortable, look cozy, but still put-together and NOT like you are wearing activewear to a turkey dinner.

When I look for a boot trend to explore, it is important to me to find the ones the are well-made and of quality materials. At the same time, I hope for the best price and service. Obviously, that is not such an easy pairing to find. The place I usually turn to first is Zappos, they are one of the first and now one of the biggest online retailers with affordable, but best-quality footwear. And they have never failed me. They became known for their customer service, and that is the quality I continuously admire in any business - as it seems harder and harder to come by. They have a very lenient return and exchange policy and hassle-free order processing, they always have a ton of options for styles and sizing and fit.

This time, I decided to go with a Rider boot by Blowfish, I loved the chunky rubber sole, and the moto-inspired belting around the ankle, all the buckles and the fabric. They come in three different colors and I wish I could have them all. I love how the boot is a mostly stiff and supportive, but the top is also moldable, so you can style it to the shape you want. As you can see, I went for 5 easy looks, three super casual, like school pick-up & drop-off casual, the one you need less than ten minutes for to pull off. The other two are also super easy and hassle-free, but can be worn to some of the social events November and December are filled with.

I love that by signing up for Zappos VIP program, I got my Blowfish boots in 2-days with their free shipping and earned redeemable points, which will be the case for every purchase I make. Moreover, it doesn't cost anything extra, if you have Amazon Prime!
Zappos is giving away a pair of fall boots to one of my readers, so check out my post on Instagram for more details!

Fed is best and a good pump is best too!

Before I became a mama, I never realized how much stress and worry I will feel over how my kids are eating.  I feel like the obsession starts during these first few days with all this pressure to keep them alive and thriving, and then it continues later into their.. I don’t know adulthood-ness?

When Simon was born, I was obsessing over this so much, so much so that I gave myself panic attacks… since I was nursing -  I wasn’t sure how much he was eating at a feeding, when he was fussy I was clueless whether he was hungry or tired, I wanted him to sleep better, but I could never tell the difference, he was my first one, it is hard to know then… it is hard to believe that things are ok, it is hard to trust anyone telling you that you are doing a good job and that they are okay… anyhow I digress, anyway, that moment was when I first considered pumping, I have never done it before even though I had bought a breast pump before giving birth as one of the ”registry items a first time mom needs to have”. Simon was four months old at a time and I wanted to organize his day into naps and awake times and solve the feeding enigma. Back then I was expecting a bit too much out of “putting a baby on a schedule” and was completely naïve and maybe even crazy… but it is how we all learn ;)

Anyhow, pumping was a surprise to me, because it was hard, I didn’t know how to do it, how much time I should do it for, when? nothing…. Long story short, it gave me even more panic attacks and added to my anxiety… but like everything in first-time-motherhood, you navigate through each storm and eventually, notice you are still swimming on the surface and things are, in fact, okay, like everyone said they would be. I had to research and learn all things pumping, and slowly figured things out.

I have three kids, and my pumping story was different with each one. With Simon I pumped the most, first, for control, to check if he really had a whole feed and was he ready for a longer night-stretch or not. Then I pumped for leaving him with Cass when I was in grad school three times a week. I also was worried about my supply so I kept pumping for storage, by the time he was done nursing at 16 months, I had like two gallons of breastmilk to donate left.

With Leo, I pumped less, I guess I was more confident in myself, trusted my intuition, mothering skills and in my supply. I pumped milk when I had to leave him, or to ad to oatmeal or other solids. I had a very small emergency stash in the fridge, mostly because he never really liked the bottle and nursed a lot, so I never felt like I had time or energy to start building it.

With Zoe, I pump to leave her when I go to a dentist or hairdresser, she alike Leo doesn’t easily take the bottle, so I cannot switch between bottle and breast easily (not as easily as with Simon - thank goodness he was my first or I would go crazy!) I thought, I would have to pump regularly upon returning to work, but then I changed my mind about returning to work… which is a whole other topic… so I do not need to get into a regular pumping regiment quite yet, however I want to build a little freezer stack as I think it is beneficial to add it later on to their food even when they are toddlers… maybe even when they wean, as occasional breastmilk in their morning oats can really help with their immunity… trust me I learned that the hard way, Simon was a champ and Leo got sick all through his toddlerhood, it didn’t help he went to daycare the soonest and didn’t drink breastmilk while at it.

As I mentioned I had three pumps, but not until I discovered Luna by Motif, did I fully appreciate how comfortable pumping can be! Now, I am really motivated to build a better stash for Zoe and maybe even increase her bottle intake so it is a bit easier to switch between when needed (right now she will only take it, when really hungry, and pretty upset by then too, which I would like to avoid).

Anyhow, here is a few tips that I think could be useful for any mama who needs to approach the topic of pumping, it took me three kids to figure out the joist of it, so I thought I should share in case they can help someone sooner!

-tip one, ask about pumping at the hospital! Even if you decided to nurse exclusively and don’t plan on pumping any time soon.  Lactation consultants will help get you up to speed when the time comes and be a great resource on how to get a pump with insurance, or how to rent one etc. I recently found out that my Luna pump is covered by insurance, but check with your plan advisor on the proper procedure to start the process.

- tip two: give yourself grace, it will take time to learn how to do it, try  to get familiar with your pump. How it works, how to put it together etc. There are so many pumps out there, some can look really intimidating. I like to use online resources on how to set it up rather than reading through the manual, my Luna pump has a ton of great resources on how to get started, assembly (which is super easy by the way), cleaning (also super easy) etc.!

-tip three, start slow, if you are still nursing, try to latch the baby on one breast and attach the pump on the other, do not think about what is happening with it, alike you do not check the baby’s mouth, the less attention you spend on the amount of milk you pump, the better you will do! The best pump is the one that is not too distracting for the baby, so you can pump in a dark room or in a quiet space, Luna is super quiet (pumps discreetly with a 45-decibel hum, almost like a white noise machine for the baby!) and has a night-light that won’t strain eyes in the darkness nor wake up the baby.

-tip five, make sure it fits right! It took me two pumps that sort of fit, but in fact they didn’t, one always pinched and the other thug, I finally realized that the flange size will really help with these discomforts! You can buy Luna with different flange sizes and they have a flange sizing guide on their website to ensure you are getting the perfect fit.

- try to do it frequently, but don’t stress over if you skip a session, stress and anxiety is worse for your supply than a skipped session! Your peace of mind is really the key, I always heard that nursing/pumping is all a confidence game, and it truly is, so be good to yourself, pamper yourself a little and remember you are doing an amazing job!

Overall, I am very happy with my newest pump the Motif LUNA , my favorite features are its extremely
efficient suction levels and the LED night light! It is truly a game changer to have a reliable, efficient and well-designed pump; an added bonus is that it's covered by insurance.

Blog post written in partnership with Motif Medical - Luna pump producer.